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Friday, December 01, 2006
Everything and Nothing, Along With Mushrooms, Infinity and Dark Energy
I stumbled across an article today (linked below) that got me thinking along a parallel track to a book I'm currently reading. The book is Sam Harris' The End Of Faith, which is an analysis of reason versus religion. Anyway, I was talking to a friend in regards to why I am an atheist, and we got to talking a bit about this article, which I found terribly interesting. She had mentioned energy and karma and purpose in lieu of Christianity, and I emailed her back...
I've taken enough psychedelics to have an unfounded suspicion (but not a "belief") that we are all a collection of a single energy which operates in a band of frequencies that are either complimentary, dissonant, or somewhere in between. If scientists were to print a paper tomorrow that "proved" this, it wouldn't surprise me. A discovery of that nature says something about the universe, and says something about our existence in terms of a collective, but it doesn't say anything about the "purpose" of this collective or if there is a puppet master who took part in its creation and/or continues to take any interest at all in the individuals who make up the collective.
In other words, even with a couple of nice nights on mushrooms, I've never been presented with adequate evidence to assume anything about the philosophy of what I suspect to be the reality of our existence, and I choose to withhold applying mythologies to this philosophy until such time that adequate evidence exists.
I don't really believe that there actually is such a philosophy. A mathematical constant to explain how this energy can exist and co-exists in this reality maybe, but an active reason that is philosophical and not scientific in nature as to why the energy exists, no.
On that note, I was reading an article about black holes today, and how scientists are getting closer to creating one in a lab environment (what could POSSIBLY go wrong?): "Cosmologists now theorize that the total energy of our entire universe might be zero, after we add up the positive contributions from matter and dark energy to the negative contribution of gravity. That means if we create just the right conditions in the lab, we can create a completely new universe basically out of nothing. It's simply a matter of balancing the cosmic books!"
The article quotes NPR: "Is this a joke? No, say a bunch of physicists. ... One day it may be possible to go into a laboratory on Earth, create a "seed" -- a device that could grow into a universe -- and then there would have to be a way to get that seed, on command, to safely expand into a separate, infinite, unexplorable but very real alternate universe."
It's wildly interesting to me to think about the possibilities in all this. With the advances that could be made to get to this point, we'd be in a position to essentially create infinity, while technically creating nothing (the "balancing the books" with dark energy). It would certainly provoke a lot of questions that are philosophical in nature, but becoming more and more answerable through scientific experiment.
Do we exist as a piece of infinity? Seems to be intuitive. But since infinity is likely balanced by dark energy to become a sum of zero, does that not mean we also exist in nothing at the same time?
Someday we're going to realize that we don't have to mythologize infinity and nothing, nor do we have to assume that the opposite to these mythologies (i.e., religion) to be immoral chaos and nihilism ("Okay. So we take ze money you haf on you, und ve calls it eefen."). We'll be able to begin the enormous undertaking of theologizing our own existence in terms we can actually support through repeatable observation, and actively begin to shed first-century thinking in an attempt at understanding through science. I hope it starts to happen in my lifetime...
Before I post a couple of quick things, I wanted to direct your attention to a new blog written by some very familiar names. Up For Sports is well worth a visit, an RSS subscription, a major advertising buy, and your undying loyalty.
Moving on, I was live-blogging the Ravens/Bengals game last night with the intention of posting to UFS, but I realized rather quickly that whatever combination of gin and fatigue I had beating my poor body into submission was going to result in missing the second half, thereby killing my good intentions. Here's a taste of what you missed, in my favorite non-football related post of the first half:
831PM - I finished downloading some Russian porn just now, and I think we need to set up an exchange program with our San Fernando Valley specialists. Their camera work is sloppy, the angles are lingered upon for too long, and the male character looks malnourished and straight out of the prison camp extras line from "Schindler's List." Now, I've seen enough Japanese porn to know that not every adult actress needs a big Teutonic cock to choke on, but for chrissakes I can't help but feel that generic Anglo-Saxton guilt when the skinny guy with the buzzcut and two week stubble needs a sandwich more than a self-conscious blowjob. I mean really.And here's a quick story, cribbed from an email to my friend The Doc regarding last week's ThanksMas/ChrisGiving trip home to Michigan:
So my mom is the queen of the malpropism, where she often mangles what it is she means to say into something sometimes humorous. To wit, we used to have a tradition when unwrapping presents of guessing what was in the box before opening. However, my dad spoiled that one year by guessing, "It's a basketball," when, in fact, Bob had deflated a basketball and wrapped it in a box that could have been a sweater or pants instead. So on that day the tradition changed to only guessing absurdly wrong answers, just in case you somehow guessed it correctly. Well, a number of years ago my mom picked up a box that probably was a sweater or pants, shook it side to side to hear the muffled slide of thick fabric, and proceeded to mangle her guess of a child's metal craft kit into the now infamous, "It's an 'Erection Set.'"More later, but go check out Up For Sports. We're launching slowly, but should get our feet under us in short order.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
To Be Fair, It Is A Dark Cream Color
845AM, two hours and thirty five minutes after I put it on this morning, I realize I'm wearing a shirt my dog has peed on.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Why I Cancelled My ReviewMe Account This Morning
I had a long talk last night with another blogger in regards to ReviewMe. The basic tenets of their argument against ReviewMe was that "blogger buzz shouldn't be bought," and that the whole idea of the long tail (the trickle down of topics of interest - "buzz" - from big traffic sites down the blog ladder) in blogland was being corrupted.
While I don't disagree with this blogger's points, let me tell you briefly and personally why I see this as a more ethical concern than that, and why I went in this morning and deactivated my ReviewMe account.
Oh no, you're thinking... Here goes BG on another self-righteous ramble about artistic integrity and how the rest of us with ads and affiliate deals are just whores out to score a buck.
If you think I'm going to tread on that turf again, you're wrong.
Let me preface what I'm about to say with an assumption. Let's assume that if someone felt their product's exposure was worth paying me, then it's worth paying Joe Speaker or Maudie or Mean Gene as well. As a matter of fact, all three of my fellow bloggers signed up through ReviewMe, and all three of these bloggers were offered a review rate identical to the one I was offered.
In other words, let's assume that I know that an ad on my site is worth exactly the same amount of money as it would be for Kent, Maudie or Gene, and for a lot of other poker bloggers as well.
Now, I went into this review relationship with an optimistic mind. I thought that I might be offered books to read, or movies to go see. Stuff I'd do anyway, but I'd get paid to tell the world what I thought. Sounded like a pretty good deal to me.
Until, that is, I got my first offer. You've probably already seen a couple of reviews popping up for a certain message board on a couple of sites (including a couple of the above), and I got that offer too. But I turned it down.
I didn't turn it down because it was aesthetically unpleasant for me to troll message boards for fifteen minutes in order to write about them, and I didn't turn it down because I don't want my readers going to this site in particular.
I turned it down because the proprietor of this particular message board had approached me months ago, as I'm sure he approached many of you, to carry a text ad for his site. I didn't take his ad then, but I can tell you a text ad on a six month contract for his site would have paid me at least six times (if not more) what I would have made on a paid post for the guy. Now, granted, there's a belief that once you post this stuff you'll bury it with fresh posts in a matter of a few days to a week, but do understand that this paid post does not go away if simply buried. It is an ad, and not at all different in my eyes from a text ad on every one of your pages in the margin.
So why then do I want to cut my advertising rates for this guy? And am I not doing damage to Duggle Bogey's or Gracie's ability to dictate their advertising rates by effectively undercutting them by a factor of six?
Taking out of the conversation what your attitude on blogs carrying ads might be, there are some in this community who have effectively monetized their web space, and it is entirely their right to take what is out there and being offered. Therefore, if I take an ad that puts $50 in my pocket, there's a possibility that ultimately takes $200 out of Jordan's pocket by setting a newly perceived market rate.
I did not take the message board review offer, and I've deleted my account. I do not begrudge anyone who continues to take new reviews, I simply ask that they be conscious of competing with and undercutting those for whom ad revenue has become an ongoing reality. If you are offered a review of a service that might be an advertiser to the community at large, think twice before you accept the offer.
**UPDATE: Can we take the discussion brewing in the comments offline? Maybe to the WPBT email list or over some beers in Vegas?
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